White House: Wrong for IRS to target tea party groups

The AP

The White House says it was inappropriate for the Internal Revenue Service to target tea party groups for additional reviews during last year’s presidential election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said he did not know when administration officials learned of the practice.

The IRS apologized late last week for targeting groups because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status.

The agency – which at the time was led by a Bush appointee – blamed low-level employees, saying no high-level officials were aware.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called on the White House to investigate.

Carney said the matter already was being investigated by an inspector general.

The Senate also will be looking into the matter.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., the chair of the congressional Tea Party Caucus, stated, “This is a stunning abuse of power and the American people deserve answers as to who authorized it – it is hard to believe this was a ‘low-level’ decision. And as one of the key agencies charged with enforcing Obamacare, it is also reasonable to ask if any healthcare decisions have been based on political affiliation and what assurances we have that this type of intimidation will never happen again.”